Monday, June 01, 2015

Best Cities for Minorities, Global Houston, good moves by METRO, and more

Sorry for not posting last week - I was visiting family in California and missing the flooding drama here (same way I missed Allison - you guys should be fearful when I leave town ;-).  Speaking of California, we found your lost rain here in Texas - feel free to come and pick it up anytime.

Some big news this week: our Center for Opportunity Urbanism has released its first major report, The Best Cities for Minorities: Gauging the Economics of Opportunity.  No surprise - Houston does pretty well. You can read Joel Kotkin's summary of it at RealClearPolitics here.  Key excerpts:
"We found, for all three major minority groups, that the best places were neither the most liberal in their attitudes nor had the most generous welfare programs. Instead they were located primarily in regions that have experienced broad-based economic growth, have low housing costs, and limited regulation.
There are other policy implications. Blue state progressives are often the most vocal about expanding opportunities for minority homeownership but generally support land use and regulatory policies, notably in California, that tend to raise prices far above the ability of newcomers -- immigrants, minorities, young people -- to pay. Similarly blue state support for such things as strict climate change regulation tends to discourage the growth of industries such as manufacturing, logistics and home construction that have long been gateways for minority success. 
Given the persistence of racial tensions, this data begins to give us a clearer understanding of what actually works for America’s emerging non-white majority. Denunciations of racism, police brutality and xenophobia may be all well and good for one’s sense of justice. But  if you want actually to improve the lives of minorities, we might consider focusing instead on policies that promote economic opportunity, keep living costs down, and allow for all Americans to enjoy fully the bounty of this country."
UPDATE: WSJ column discusses the report in the context of Baltimore.

Moving on to this week's smaller items:

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At 12:19 PM, June 03, 2015, Anonymous Mikie said...

Did I read correctly that the Metro-Culberson agreement would require another referendum for approval of light rail on Post Oak? Wasn't light rail on Post Oak specifically approved in the 2003 referendum? This would be rather alarming for the state of local governance if true.

At 1:28 PM, June 03, 2015, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

That is correct

The map voters approved showed rail on Westpark, not Richmond, so that was the source of the controversy. Not sure how Post Oak got included in the agreement. Metro has already said they don't mind the requirement, since they say they would need additional bonding approval in any case for new rail, and that requires voter approval.


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